Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The TV show

I can appreciate passion. If anything, I think people are not passionate enough about the things in their life. After all, only the things you’re truly excited about are really worth doing. It doesn’t always have to be about the big goals like changing the world and saving the planet as noble as those causes are. Sometimes it’s OK to set your sights on something smaller, like… saving your favorite TV show. Have you heard about Randy Bragdon? He’s a man living in California, who one day decided he wasn’t happy with what he was seeing or rather not seeing on TV and vowed to do something about it. He wanted to support the cast and crew of the recently canceled dramedy '''GCB”. What’s remarkable is how he went about it. He created a continuously expanding community of tens of thousands of people signing his petition and getting the word out everyday. He seems to be working tirelessly 24/7 trying to engage everyone from celebrities, news media to your average folks like us. I like it because it’s different and cute. And  takes a lot of commitment. On some levels it seems to be working- it’s resonating with some high profile people. He created one of the biggest TV related movements in history and that is quite impressive. But I also see a lot of people reacting with a large dose of negativity. How is this newsworthy? They ask. There are so many bigger causes they say. As someone who has been involved with those ‘bigger causes’ let me tell you. One does not exclude the other. You can still be excited about a TV show and numbers don’t lie- millions are. It’s a huge industry. Somebody must be watching. Then why not voice your opinion about how you want to be entertained? For a number of years I was involved with The Jordan Klausner Foundation that worked with children with Cerebral Palsy. Now I’m working to establish a new nonprofit that will educate people on disability law and put together a traveling presentation. And let me tell you- it’s very difficult to get people to get excited about anything. If anything this might be an impulse to seek other causes. Besides my experience tells me that the critics don’t necessarily join any of those big causes either. They just need something to complain about. It’s not as if online publications have space limits to how much they can publish anyway.

Yes, GCB is flawed. But it’s a work in progress. It has a wonderful cast and great potential. As someone who is born and raised Catholic I  can tell you there was nothing offensive about this show, but then unlike some people I don’t intentionally look for things to offend me. The biggest issue is that it tries a bit too hard. It also tries too hard not to offend anybody. The title, not quite edgy, and not entirely well received either unnecessarily added to the controversy, while the show is more like something you find on ABC family or on early Disney during ‘Good morning Miss Bliss’ era. But then, many TV hits were not runaway successes in the first season. Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, Seinfeld were all given second seasons on a leap of faith. Bragdon does a better job at marketing this show than ABC ever did

But I refuse to say that this is a trivial matter. We have a choice in saying what kind of entertainment we are willing to embrace. A lot of things people watch influences our culture greatly. There is so little creative, intelligent writing on network TV. There are so few things that convey positivity and humor. How will we ever ever dig ourselves from underneath the pile of reality tv, procedurals, medical shock dramas and the stars dancing, skating or cooking that are polluting the airways if we let this one go?

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